The future with AMD Mantle and SteamOS

For Logan and Wendell:


What are both of your opinions on the future of gaming with AMD Mantle and SteamOS?

Being a PC gamer for around three years, I've had this fantasy of PC getting it's own "gaming OS". I came from console gaming, and as you know consoles have their own operating systems that are specifically made for gaming with some versatility, like watching videos via Netflix, etc. - with the downside of consoles only being able to play games at 720p at lower graphics settings than PC. So when I came over to PC gaming, I always had this fantasy of PC getting a "gaming OS".

Now that it's actually happening, I've seen some distraught opinions on SteamOS from typical gamers while I'm over here behind my desk throwing money at my screen (even though it'll be free anyways). All of the distraught opinions I've seen are based on guesses and supposed "professional" opinions.

One could guess since Valve has a partnership with AMD (according to the 'partner spotlight' on the Steam client and website), SteamOS would be using Mantle as their "DirectX". However, I have read an article somewhere (may have been that claims Nvidia has been working with Valve directly to make SteamOS, so I have no idea what to think. Or have I missed some new information that's been released?

SteamOS is based on open source but isn't open source, which is demonstrated by the fact that it comes with nVidia binary blobs, which are not derivative of open source as far as anyone knows, thus, which would not be legal for Valve if it were to call SteamOS open source.

AMD Mantle is not open source afaik, it's an open API, but the source has not been published. Maybe AMD will publish the source, maybe it won't, in any case, it's not open source now.

AMD Mantle is an API that is not based on DirectX, it will probably run on linux before it runs on Windows. Whether or not the Mantle API uses OpenGL type calls, is not known at this time, but Mantle and OpenGL do the same basically, but on a different level.

Whether AMD Mantle will ever work right on nVidia hardware is very doubtful. AMD Mantle will work on any software and any operating system though, and on any CPU platform, but certainly not on non-AMD graphics cards.

It will probably not take very long before SteamOS can benefit from the use of the Mantle API by game developers, because AMD will always work on SteamOS because AMD has good open source drivers, and because game devs already have experience with low level AMD graphics APIs because of the PS4 and XBone.